One man builds a cathedral by himself - Mejorada del Campo in Madrid, Spain

One man builds a cathedral by himself - Mejorada del Campo in Madrid, Spain

In the town of Mejorada del Campo in the community of Madrid, there is a cathedral with a difference.

La Catedral de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, or La Catedral de Justo as it is commonly known, is being built by just one man.

In 1963, local man and former monk Justo Gallego felt inspired to begin building a cathedral on a plot of land owned by his family. Almost 50 years later, he is still hard at work. With no building or design experience, Justo educated himself in the art of construction using books. Until recently, no plans existed other than the ones he carries in his head, and the project has not been approved by the local council.

Justo seems undeterred by the challenges he faces, and continues his life's work. Around two-thirds of the cathedral has now been built, and visitors can explore it for free (although donations are welcomed). Justo relies on donations of money or materials to keep his project going, which means that some of the substances used in the cathedral's construction are unconventional to say the least. Concrete is the main material, but metal, wood, broken tiles and even cardboard even feature.

Now in his 80s, Justo pays a local man to assist him in the construction of the cathedral, but still does much of the work himself. It remains to be seen whether he will ever see the completion of his project: everything has been started, but nothing has been finished. The central dome is uncovered, revealing a patch of sky, and the cathedral's towers stop abruptly.

Visiting Justo's 'work in progress' cathedral is a unique and memorable experience, incredibly different to wandering round a conventional Spanish cathedral. To get to Mejorada del Campo from Madrid, you can take bus 284 from Avenida de América or bus 341 from Conde de Casal.


Written and contributed by BritAbroad


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